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Wallace Speaks on Smart Technology at the Senate

Dean Landeche_Blog Dean Landeche | Vice President of Marketing , Cold Chain
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

This blog summarizes an article from our E360 program, entitled Wallace Delivered Senate Testimony.” Click here to read it in its entirety.

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John Wallace, Emerson’s director of innovation, visited Washington in October to meet with members of the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources. The topic of the meeting? Energy management and building control systems. Several other industry leaders joined Wallace in discussing ways “smart” technology can reduce energy use and costs in HVAC, refrigeration and lighting systems. Here’s a summary of what was discussed.

Energy efficiency in these types of systems is a hot topic, seeing as they account for up to 90 percent of a typical building’s energy consumption. Depending on the type of facility, the energy consumption averages are as follows:

  • Refrigeration: 30–40%
  • HVAC: 20–30%
  • Lighting: 15–20%

More efficient equipment can be easily incorporated into new buildings. However, the problem lies in the fact that newer buildings are only a small portion of a multi-site operator’s portfolio, and the majority of buildings in use are older and more difficult to modernize. Because of this, Emerson is working with customers to develop technologies that can be seamlessly integrated into existing, older buildings. Adding these new technologies and incorporating smart building strategies, like utilizing natural refrigerants and applying variable-speed technologies, can help improve sustainability efforts while lowering operating costs in both new and existing buildings.

Wallace explained that integrating HVAC, refrigeration and lighting systems into building automation and supervisory controls systems can help building operators gain insights into energy use, reduce consumption and lower costs.

“Technology such as Emerson’s Site Supervisor building automation system integrates equipment controls, provides sensors to monitor key metrics within the building, and utilizes IoT technologies to connect buildings to cloud-based services, providing remote access to equipment from off-site,” said Wallace.

IoT technology continues to open doors for facility and operations managers, allowing them to optimize their operations inside their buildings while simultaneously reacting to and coordinating with services outside of their buildings. Because all of this and more can be monitored off-site, energy use can be reduced across an entire portfolio of buildings.

IoT technology also has a hand in demand response programs for foodservice and retail operations. Demand response programs provide incentives (typically monetary) to building operators in exchange for lowering their instantaneous peak demand for electricity. The challenge for building operators is to find a way to “shed” energy to lower costs and earn incentives without sacrificing food safety or negatively impacting the shopping experience.

“Newer technologies that provide the potential for building operators to autonomously aggregate peak demand reductions across multiple buildings, as well as shifting demand peaks, can provide smarter buildings and more intelligence on the way these types of programs are implemented,” said Wallace. Pairing these technologies with demand response incentive programs could help building operators cultivate more efficient and sustainable environments, all while operating at lower costs than before.

Wallace assured the Senate committee that Emerson will continue to look for ways to incorporate innovative technologies to strike a balance between local control of the building equipment and the external services that can optimize operations, not only of an individual building, but also across a portfolio of buildings. With new technology being developed every day and smart strategies slowly becoming more popular, the industry has a bright and sustainable future ahead.


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